Activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) modulates synaptic transmission, whereas the roles of mGluRs in GABAergic transmission in the entorhinal cortex (EC) are elusive. Here, we examined the effects of mGluRs on GABAergic transmission onto the principal neurons in the superficial layers of the EC. Bath application of DHPG, a selective Group I mGluR agonist, increased the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous IPSCs (sIPSCs) whereas application of DCG-IV, an agonist for Group II mGluRs or L-AP4, an agonist for Group III mGluRs failed to change significantly sIPSC frequency and amplitude. Bath application of DHPG failed to change significantly the frequency and amplitude of miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) recorded in the presence of tetradotoxin but significantly reduced the amplitude of IPSCs evoked by extracellular field stimulation or in synaptically connected interneuron-pyramidal neuron pairs in layer III of the EC. DHPG increased the frequency but reduced the amplitude of APs recorded from entorhinal interneurons. Bath application of DHPG generated membrane depolarization and increased the input resistance of GABAergic interneurons. DHPG-mediated depolarization of GABAergic interneurons was mediated by inhibition of background K+ channels which are insensitive to extracellular Cs+, TEA, 4-AP, and Ba2+. DHPG-induced facilitation of sIPSCs was mediated by mGluR5 and required the function of Gαq but was independent of phospholipase C activity. Elevation of synaptic glutamate concentration by bath application of glutamate transporter inhibitors significantly increased sIPSC frequency and amplitude demonstrating a physiological role of mGluRs in GABAergic transmission. Our results provide a cellular and molecular mechanism to explain the physiological and pathological roles of mGluRs in the EC.
- GABA receptor
- Synaptic transmission